Juniperus Virginiana. Red Cedar.
Description: Natural Order, Coniferae. This is one of the most stately of the juniper family, growing in all parts of our country, but especially thriving in mild latitudes, where it reaches a height of forty feet and more. The generic characters are the. same as in common juniper. Leaves very small, in pairs, on the older branches looking like scales, on younger branches larger and more awl-shaped, numerous, imbricated, and slightly spreading; color dark-green. Branches mostly horizontal, with a thin and scaling bark. Fruit a small and dark-purple berry, covered with a fine bloom as in juniper.
The leaves of this tree contain an essential oil, obtained by distillation. It is of a pale greenish-yellow tint; but has not such a pungent and disagreeable smell as that of savin, nor so much of the turpentine smell as the juniper. Upon the young branches are frequently found excrescences caused by the puncture of an insect, and which are (incorrectly) called cedar apples; and these have an aromatic odor and somewhat bitter taste.
Properties and Uses: The oil is a stimulant and relaxant; and though usually compared to the oil of savin, is in no way so irritating. Its principal use is in external applications, such as liniments for sprains, bruises, rheumatism, painful joints and synovial swellings, etc. It is an excellent article for such purposes. It may be used as a wash in certain affections of the skin, in the same manner as oil of juniper. It has a quite distinct influence on the kidneys and bladder, when used internally, much as juniper has; but is milder than juniper, and may be combined with such relaxants as spearmint and anise, and given in any demulcent, in catarrh and low congestion of bladder.
The excrescences above named are pronounced decided anthelmintics, and may be so when rather fresh; but I can not consider them of much worth when a few months old. A teaspoonful of the powder is given in molasses in the morning; or they may be combined with laxative tonics, and made into a concentrated sirup as in the case of senna.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com